I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant now. I’m actually past the point at which my son was born last time. I did sort of hold that day in my head as, “Okay, this might really be it.”
Despite two weeks (or so) of continuing pre-labor, and a few, “Hmm, I wonder if this is going anywhere” moments, I’m clearly still here, very much pregnant. I’m far enough that in some cases, people due around the same time are having their babies already! I know plenty who are so eager that they’re trying it all — walking, sex, spicy foods, and so on. And they haven’t even reached their due dates, necessarily — just the 37 week “safe point.”
But despite my occasional discomfort and constant wondering, “Is it going to happen today?” I’m happy to wait.
I can’t say I felt that way in my first two pregnancies. With my first, I started pacing my bedroom every night at 36 weeks and on, hoping for something to get going. When I hit 39 weeks, I tried it all — walking, spicy food, nipple stimulation, fresh pineapple (no, I never tried castor oil or black cohosh or anything serious!). I was done, and since almost everyone I knew had their babies early, I didn’t see why my baby hadn’t arrived yet.
With my second, I started to wonder just before 37 weeks when he’d show up. And he was 10 days early, when he and I were clearly both ready. I spent the first three days of the week he was born in pain, just wanting him out.
37 weeks is the safe point. Right? Anytime after that and your baby can come and there are no problems! And these days, for various reasons, most women do have their babies early. If you’re “unlucky” enough to go late, well, you’re an anomaly and everyone feels sorry for you.
This is totally the wrong mindset.
I’m saying this as someone who is almost 39 weeks pregnant, too! I know how hard the end is. But I know my baby is not yet ready to make his/her entrance, even if science says “it should be fine.” All babies are different and there is no way to predict how a baby will do if born at any particular time. They all grow and develop on their own time tables.
The average first-time mom (worldwide) delivers at 41 weeks, 1 day. Most moms aren’t even allowed to go that far now, though! And it’s led to a lot of impatience. Why isn’t my baby here, I’m past the “safe” point!
I hope I do go longer. Every week I achieve makes me feel better. I know my baby would be safe now, but I don’t think s/he is ready. Maybe when I hit 40 weeks. Or 41 weeks. Or…who knows. My midwives won’t induce me without a really, really good medical reason, so I could just keep going…. Baby will know when the time is right. And right now, s/he is happy on the inside.
My mindset has just changed as I’ve read more about normal pregnancies. I no longer want it to be over as soon as possible. I no longer worry about the minor discomforts, like frequent Braxton-Hicks, back pain, and fatigue. I know that three weeks (that would take me to 42 weeks) is really a very short time, in the grand scheme of things. Soon enough I’ll be holding my baby.
I’m glad my minset has changed. I’m glad I’m looking at the end of pregnancy, even past the ‘safe’ 37 weeks, as “keep my baby in as long as possible” instead of “Why won’t my baby just come, already?!” It makes the days more pleasant, to not constantly wake up disappointed that I’m still pregnant.
And if I spend that time scrambling around, doing little projects around the house and working frantically to get my newest cookbook, Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts ready to publish…that’s okay too! (No official launch date set for that yet, it will be in August, but you can follow me on Modern Alternative Mama for updates as they come. You might also want to check out the big pre-launch sale I’m having this weekend on my other ebooks, codes to be announced Thursday night.)
How do you feel? Are you impatient for baby’s arrival, or are you happy to wait until baby’s ready?